Some time ago, just after the release of "Spiderman 3," I visited a public toilet somewhere in central New York. As I entered, I noticed a gap in the long line of urinals. One was missing. Strange, I thought.
Then something caught my eye. The urinal wasn't missing at all. It was, well, elevated. There it was, hanging from the ceiling, and beside it on the wall was a message: "Spiderman 3—out now."
I'll never forget it.
Nor will I forget that Tom Dickson from Blendtec chucked his iPhone into a household blender. He pressed the smoothie button and asked, "Will it blend?" (In case you're curious—yes, it did blend!)
Week after week, Tom tested the blendability of such items, and the ultra powerful Blendtec blender managed to pulverize them all. (See video of another alternative marketing technique.)
But I do tend to forget all those diet, car, insurance, bank, credit card, exercise equipment, who-knows-what commercials and infomercials. And most banner ads, almost every billboard, and all those direct mails. They never even make it to my memory bank.
What makes the difference between these starkly different categories of communication—the magically memorable and the utterly forgettable? Are there any driving forces that could be common denominators for the success of the first category and the regrettable nature of the second group?
It so happens that the blender ritual and the "Spiderman 3" installation were created by companies with severe budget constraints. And the endless mass of infomercials and bland advertisements emanate from companies with nice media budgets.